Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 327 Menu: Last Week of Summer Break

Every blog post needs a photo, right?  We went to the Oregon Coast a few weeks ago and my sis-in-law and I went running on the beach.  We stopped for a picture.  I'm smiling, can't you tell?  

Hi everyone!  This is our last week of summer break.  My kids go back to school on Sept 1st.  I have mixed feelings about school starting.  It'll be a good thing, I think!

I went to middle school orientation for my 6th grade daughter last night and had more mixed feelings about it.  I had some flashbacks of my middle school experience, especially when I was sitting in the band room.  Weird.  I'm happy that my daughter's teachers seem really great and excited to be teaching.  But I wonder why some of the kids are trying to look and act like they're 16, when they're really only 11.  Seriously, don't grow up so fast!  

Anyway...I've been horrible at menu planning the last month or two for several reasons.
1.  My garden has been producing like crazy and I'm scrambling to keep up with all of it.  I've been blanching and freezing, and slicing and eating and trying to give away our extra green peppers, squash and zucchini and green beans.
2.  My husband has been on travel a few times.  Why make dinner that no one wants to eat, but me?  The kids didn't complain too much.
3.  I've still been trying to eat better and naturally lower my cholesterol.  Sometimes this causes my brain to freeze and I have a really hard time of thinking of things to make for dinner that don't include anything that I "shouldn't" eat.  Then we just end up eating cereal and oatmeal for dinner.
4.  We've gone on a few quick vacations in the last few weeks.  I'm still wishing that we were at the Oregon Coast (above picture).

After a really lame, late-night dinner of grab-what-ever-you-want-or-have-oatmeal after soccer practice and middle school orientation last night, I am determined to make a good menu for the rest of the week.  I'm also determined to grocery shop thoroughly for the meals and actually make them!  Wish me luck.

Menu time:

Tuesday:  fresh salmon (sweetly delivered to me from my neighbors) using this recipe, garlic mashed potatoes, fresh green beans from the garden

Wednesday:  grilled greek chicken, fresh garden veggies and homemade ranch, grilled naan from costco with a little garlic/butter (or actually smart-balance instead of butter...a little heart-healthier)

Thursday:  homemade grilled pizza, pepperoni for the kids, recreating this chicken and veggie pizza I posted on instagram a month or two ago.

Friday:  honey lime chicken enchiladas for the family and quinoa black bean honey lime enchiladas for me (I made these a month or so ago and posted a pic on instagram.  It was SOOO good!  I didn't miss the meat or cheese).  I'm going to be brave and make some green chile sauce from our pluthora of anaheim chiles from our garden.   Hopefully it's not too spicy.

Saturday:  easy night

Sunday:  balsamic beef kabobs, grilled veggies (most likely corn or green beans), grilled naan

Monday (Back-to-school Eve):  baked orange glazed meatballs, rice or quinoa, stirfried veggies (squash, green beans, sweet onions, carrots, etc.)

Phew, that was hard!  But it's so nice to have it all planned out!  What about you, what are you eating this week?  Are you back in school or still enjoying summer?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 326 Menu: Normal food for my family and no cholesterol for me

Hi there!  I've been struggling planning my menus the last few weeks.  I have been trying to eat no dairy, meat, processed foods and being careful with saturated fat, etc with hopes to naturally lower my cholesterol.  Basically I've been eating a lot of veggies (from my garden...yay!), hummus, oatmeal with almond milk, quinoa, and handfuls of almonds.  (I've been posting a few pictures on instagram of my "healthy" meals....like honey lime quinoa black bean enchiladas and these spiralized zucchini noodles.)

It's definitely been an interesting few weeks.  My husband was gone on travel for work all last week, so I made the kids whatever they wanted for dinner and I ate whatever I wanted (this is why I didn't post a menu).

I've been struggling trying to plan meals in advance.  I think it'll get easier once I find more recipes that I can adapt for me and that my family will like.  I'm buckling down right now to plan out the rest of my week.

Here we go...

Family:  pizza (I'd spent all day in the kitchen, baking bread, making jam and roasting, slicing, freezing green chiles from our garden).
Me:  hummus and veggies, grapes

Family:  Asian BBQ chicken, whole wheat cous cous, watermelon and fresh green beans from our garden.
Me:   whole wheat cous cous, green beans, and sauteed zucchini/yellow squash and some watermelon.

Family:  taco soup.
Me:  I'll have taco soup without the meat, cheese and sprinkled with my favorite "healthy" chips from Costco, Late July brand.

Family:  sesame chicken salad made with whole wheat pasta and spinach for the family.
Me:  I'll have salad sans chicken.

Family:  grilled salmon, rice, garden veggies.
Me:  salmon, quinoa and garden veggies.

Family:  chicken fajitas.
Me:  Fajita with just mushrooms, peppers and onions instead of meat, no cheese, and fresh salsa made from my garden and avocado.

Family:  marinated steaks, homemade fries, garden veggies and fruit
Me:  I'll have sauteed mushrooms, sweet potato fries, garden veggies and fruit.

Wow, that was hard!  I know I could make my family eat what I'm eating, but dinnertime is already full of complaints from my littles as it is.  Hopefully taking baby steps towards them eating what I'm eating someday.  Not vegan though...no one should have to be eating vegan if they don't want to.  I miss butter.

What are you guys eating this week?

Have a great one!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

What I've Been Reading

I read a book this week!  I love to read, but don't do it very often because I have a hard time multitasking.  I find myself ignoring everyone and everything and just reading.

My friend, Angela, recommended this book to me, The Night Circus.

I originally meant to just listen to this book while doing chores and driving my kids around, but the audiobook wasn't immediately available from my library and the ebook version was.  So, I've spent hours holding my little phone and reading this book.

I loved it.  It was a nice break from real life for a little while.  I wish that I would have listened to it instead of reading it.  Maybe I will.  I'm sure I missed some parts and details as I was trying to read quickly.

*There is one f word in the first few chapters that surprised me, but other than that it was a pretty clean read.

Have you read it?  I'd love to hear what you think about it.

Have you read or listened to any other great books lately?
Click here to see my previous "What I've Been Reading" posts.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week 325 Menu

Hi guys!  Wow, I've been a slacker about posting my menu.  I meant to do it last week and never got around to it.  And this week it's already Saturday and I'm just posting it.  I've been posting my menus every week since 2008, but the last few months I've been not as consistent.  I'm always thinking about it though.

This summer has been super busy.  Time for blogging isn't always there.  But I love it when I do blog.  It's one of my favorite things to do.  Lots of things have been keeping me busy...vacation a few weeks ago, my kids, our house, church stuff, friends, and our garden.

We have a garden that's growing like crazy.  I'm going outside and bringing handfuls of food back in with me.

Anyway...I've been trying to figure out what healthy food I'm going to feed my family.  More about why in my last post about my "stinking cholesterol".  Makes menu planning a bit more of a challenge.
Better late than never, here's my menu for this week.

Monday:  we ate white chicken chili

Tuesday: we ate homemade pizza.  Pepperoni for the kids.  I made chicken caesar veggie pizza.  (I instagrammed a picture with more details on how I made it.)

Wednesday: we ate spaghetti

Thursday:  we ate fresh whole wheat bread and pb/jam/honey and fruit

Friday: we ate breakfast burritos (I instagrammed about how I healthied mine up)

Saturday:  marinated 7up chicken, homemade tortilla chips and salsa, green beans from the garden, fruit

Sunday:  orange chicken (my kids have been BEGGING me to make this.  Totally not healthy, but really yummy.  I'll limit myself to a few pieces and prepare quinoa along with the fluffy, yummy white rice that I normally make.)

What have you been eating for dinner this week?  I love summer and not having to plan dinner ahead so in advance like during the school year.  Yay for summer!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Heathier Eating: An Update on My Lovely Cholesterol

Hi guys.  I went to the doctor yesterday for my followup about my high cholesterol.  I feel like I need to vent a bit.  Is that okay?
See, here's a picture of me, right now.  We're talking face to face.  Fun, right?

So anyway...yesterday I went to the doctor for my followup from my last visit two months ago (when we talked about my high cholesterol numbers and my doctor told me that I needed to change my diet to see if it lowers my numbers).  So, the last two months I've been "trying" to eat better.

(I've blogged about my high cholesterol diagnosis here.  Then three weeks later, I posted a 3 Weeks Healthy Eating Update.  I've also been sharing healthier eating pics on Instagram too.  I love Instagram!)

I've definitely not been perfect, but I've drastically reduced my meat and dairy intake.  I've been baking less, so the sweet treats aren't here to tempt me.  I've mostly just felt more guilty when I've eaten a hot dog or pizza for dinner with my family because I know how much cholesterol it has in it, but hey, it's summer and I've got kids...we have to eat something.

Anyway.  I had some blood taken a few weeks ago and we talked about the lab results yesterday.  And the results said... (drum roll, please)............that my cholesterol went up!  What the heck?  My good cholesterol went up too, but by LDL (bad cholesterol) and overall cholesterol levels are high...like higher 200s or something bad.  Other things in my blood have gotten better, which is good.

My doctor asked if I could "tighten up my diet" for the next 6 months and we'll do more blood work and see if that has helped.  So...for the next six months it's going to be interesting.

Since I'm young (almost 34 in a month) and I exercise regularly and am otherwise healthy, I don't really look forward to the possibility of being on cholesterol medication (satins) for the rest of my life.  On the other hand, it kind of sounds nice to just be able to take a pill and not worry so much about what I eat.

My kids were asking what I can and can't eat.  Here's what I told them:

Bad foods:  Meat, Dairy, Carbs, Sugar, Butter, etc.  (Pretty much everything they love to eat.)

Good:  Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains.  Nuts.

I feel like I just went through this...which I did, a few months ago.  I tried to eat whole and only eat the "good" food and I really just ended up eating insane amounts of peanut butter on celery and apples.  Not so good.  I'd have good days and then really bad days when I'd totally break out the pretzels and nutella.

So, here's my new PLAN:

1.  Only eat baked treats on Sunday when my daughter makes them.
2.  Extremely limit carbs and only eat whole grains.
3.  Continue to cut down on amount of meat I eat.
4.  Limit dairy and keep it low-fat.  Say goodbye to late night bowls of ice cream.
5.  Eat lots of yummy vegetable and whole grains.
6.  Start making protein powder shakes (my sweet sis is telling how she makes them for herself)
7.  Find lots more new recipes that are heart healthy.  My family is going to have to eat more what I eat for dinner.  My husband is on board with this....and my kids will survive, I guess.
8.  Blog along the way.  Hopefully I'll end up with lots and lots more heart healthy recipes here.  I have lots of yummy recipes, but they usually involve lots of butter, sugar or lots of meat and dairy.

I love this picture, because this is totally what I've been trying to do (and will definitely get better at).

I've been meaning to menu plan, but I honestly can't think of things that I want to start making.  I've got to get over the list of "don'ts" and remembers all the yummy things I can eat.

I'm definitely going to be making lots of kettlecorn (whole grain, right?  with a tiny bit of sugar and coconut oil).
This sweet potato quinoa salad will be making an appearance too...I ate it almost every day during the whole month of June.

My whole family loves this trail mix.  Yum.

This was my lunch today...hummus and veggies from my garden, plus some almonds and extra cucumbers.  I love these little single servings of hummus.  I seriously eat it almost every day.
Anyway....I appreciate all the sweet comments from my friends during the last few months.  It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there that has this problem and is trying to change eating habits. I'll keep posting and hopefully have lots more low cholesterol recipes soon.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Week 324 Menu

Happy Friday everyone!  We survived our first week of summer without Grandma and Grandpa here.  We usually have a few rough days after school get out while we're getting into a schedule and convincing the kids that they have to do chores every day.  My almost six year old is convinced that we only have to do chores on Saturday.  I wish...

It's getting crazy hot here starting today.  Today will be 104 and tomorrow will be around 110!  Wow!  Thank goodness for A/C, splash parks, the river and ice cream!  And I'm glad that this isn't the normal summer temperature for June.  I think it's usually in the 90s.  Oh well...I'm trying to think of the heat like a sauna...soak it in!

Here's this week's menu even though the week is almost over...

Sunday:  grilled chicken salad with homemade ranch and baked tortilla strips

Monday:  chicken salad wraps

Tuesday:  easy

Wednesday:  taco bar (crockpot taco chicken, ground turkey w/homemade taco seasoning, my favorite quick salsa and all the other toppings)

Thursday:  Waikiki meatballs, broccoli, rice

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  easy

What have you been making this week?  I'd love to hear what your summer dinners consist of.